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Glover Review – Independent review calls for radical plan for England’s National Parks

This long-awaited review was published on 21st September 2019. Click HERE to read the Glover committee summary and detailed report. We welcome the ambition of the review, and many of its recommendations, but it is also clear that a key issue will be – how the proposals are implemented in detail and over what timeframe?

We were pleased that the report quoted our national partner organisation – the Campaign for National Parks (CNP) several times and addressed many of their themes. Also, that it highlighted several initiatives in different National Parks which have been driven by / included significant input from the local park societies like the Friends of the South Downs.

The report says that they want to see public bodies recognise the status of national landscapes, as they do not always do so at present. The report goes further to say that the existing duty of ‘regard’ is too weak. He believes public bodies should be required to help further the purposes of National Parks.

The Society will be reviewing the 168-page report in detail along with the SDNPA response (click HERE). This will help us prepare for the campaign to actually get the recommendations implemented by the Government.

Key recommendations include:

  • A new National Landscapes Service
  • Creating a 1,000 strong ranger service
  • Giving more help to children to connect with nature
  • A transformed approach to recover and enhance nature, working with farmers and conservation groups to reverse years of decline and bring landscapes alive
  • Backing for new National Parks

We would welcome your comments which you can send to our Policy Officer, Vic Ient : vic.ient@southdownssociety.org.uk

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Chalk Streams of Hampshire

A recent episode of the BBC Countryfile series featured iconic chalk streams, tackling pollution of water courses and the reduction of chemical fertilizers in farming amongst other things. The iconic world-class, crystal-clear chalk streams of Hampshire in the South Downs National Park kick-off this episode.

The TV programme opened with the feature on the crystal-clear waters of chalk streams in Hampshire within the pristine landscape and with these opening remarks “Chalk streams are a resource to be treasured and protected; they are almost unique to Southern England.” Countryfile visits Cheriton in the Hampshire, part of the South Downs National Park, through which the river Itchen flows from its nearby source. We see volunteers working to keep the water clear. Over recent years they have transformed the stream keeping it clear and free flowing. An expert shows us how to test for pollution from ‘brightening agents’ used in washing machine powders and liquids which could enter water courses through broken pipes.

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Registration of historic rights of way and of the benefits of extending the cut-off date for their registration – House of Lords Short Debate

On Tuesday 2nd April the House of Lords held a short debate to discuss the benefits of extending the 2026 cut-off date for registration of historic rights of way. Our President, Baroness Maggie Jones, spoke in this debate in support of an extension with a mention of the society, “… as the President of the Friends of the South Downs – which does fantastic work campaigning to protect and preserve the landscape of the South Downs National Park and providing a huge range of guided walks on the footpaths and bridleways.”

“The rights of way network is one of our nation’s greatest assets: it connects people to nature and our rural environment and describes how our ancestors interacted with, and enjoyed, the landscape over centuries.

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